DFA to improve passport processing
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo assured that the agency is continuously looking at different aspects to further improve its services, particularly passport processing. In a luncheon with the Department of Foreign Affairs Press Corps, Romulo said that DFA is already looking at other strategies to fast-track passport processing.
Some strategies that they are considering is the payment processing for an ePassport, which may be done after securing an appointment instead of paying after having the biometrics taken. This process is already implemented in US embassy, wherein the necessary payment should be settled first at an affiliated bank before an appointment is scheduled.
DFA also said that acquiring an appointment schedule took about two months in the past because there were around 40 percent who secured an appointment but failed to appear on time without canceling their appointed schedule.
However, Romulo said that these plans still needs to be finalized to ensure that it will not bring confusion and would be convenient to those applying for a passport.
Meanwhile, according to DFA-OCA, the Philippine ePassport is still the most affordable in the world at USD60. ePassport fees in the Asia-Pacific region are as follows: Malaysia – 300 Ringgit (around US$92), New Zealand – NZ$150 (US$101), Japan – ¥11,000 (US$120), and Australia – A$172 (US$153). E-passport costs 60 euros (US$77) in France, US$97 in the United States, and £72 (US$107) in the United Kingdom.
Romulo added that waiting time for appointment was shortened from two months to less than a month following measures undertaken by the agency to get rid of fixers who ask huge amount of money in exchange for an earlier appointment schedule.
Applicants may set an appointment by going on line (www.passport.com.ph) or by calling 737-1000. Travel agents can secure an appointment at www.dfa.gov.ph or email at firstname.lastname@example.org . They may also call 834-4961, 834-4855 and 834-3707 for other details.